Travel Bug

For the past few years I’ve gotten in to the habit of booking vacations to get me through the winter- December/January in New England can be lovely (fresh snow! sledding! movie days!), but it can also be a real bummer. For example, as lovely as it is that we are getting up to 12 inches of snow tomorrow, we are also getting up to 12 inches of snow tomorrow. I usually book my summer vacations in December to give me something to look forward to– and this year I booked three. #sorrynotsorry

March

In March I’m headed to New Orleans for my niece’s wedding, which just so happens to be St. Patrick’s day weekend. My husband’s whole family is going to be there and a few of us rented a house together- I can’t wait! This will be my third visit to NOLA, and my husband’s fourth, so we’re going without a real plan or schedule. At this point, we know where we like to eat (Dat Dog!) and the spots we like to frequent (Three Muses! Funky Pirate!) so we can nudge our family in that general direction but otherwise just go with the flow.

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taken in 2014: that architecture! that tree! :: le sigh :: I am in love with the Garden District

April

Me and three of my girl friends are headed to Vegas for a few days in April! I’ve been twice but honestly hated it both times, so I’m hoping this will turn things around. The first time I went was for a friend’s wedding, which was lovely but because of work commitments I could only stay for about 30 hours. It was so rushed and chaotic, and not only did our room get messed up but I booked Circus Circus because it was the cheapest and it turns out my husband is afraid of clowns. Whoops. The second time I went was for a conference, I went alone and my anxiety took over so I never left the hotel. Ever. I stayed at the Flamingo, which is gorgeous, but everything is so big and crowded I somehow managed to convince myself if I left my room I’d never find it again so I skipped meals and ordered room service and basically became a sad Vegas hermit for three days. THIS time though- I am ready! We’ve got tickets to Britney as well as Penn & Teller, a hotel with a heated pool, I’ve got my anxiety (slightly) under control, and I’m ready to rock! Hard rock! Hotel! (pun intended, of course.)

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Britney I’m comingggggggggggggggggggggggggggg!

June/July

My husband and I are in the process of planning out a two week trip overseas with some of our friends! It’s going to be amazing! We’re planning on visiting London and Paris with a few day trips in between (Scotland? Wales?) and I can’t wait. This will be our first big international trip (we went to a Sandals in the Bahamas a few years ago, but that doesn’t really count as international adventure), and I feel super ready. We’ll have a loose schedule- a few planned spots a day, but the rest open to romantic wandering- and we’re looking in to houses to rent throughout our time. Have you ever been? Any spots you’d recommend?

 

 

 

Hello, 2017.

I think I’ve started 4 or 5 drafts of this post in the past month and I’ve deleted every one of them. It has been a weird month, and there’s just not much to write about I guess. Or I don’t have the words for things I want to write about. Now that we’re in a new home that doesn’t need much work, I really need to re-define/re-evaluate the purpose of this blog. I’m not sure I’m going to continue it. Or maybe I’ll just pop in once a month, or maybe just once a season, with updates/thoughts/ideas. I’ve sort of lost steam for social media based interaction lately…. I’ve been blogging here for over 5 years and my interests and focuses have changed.

I’ve done a few house things (patched a hole in the wall, built a stand for essential oils, used my new bread maker obsessively), but otherwise I’ve just been hibernating- as I do most winters. Winter in New England can be so pretty, and it’s especially pretty in our brand new woodsy house, but it also means I generally want to spend time under a blanket with some tea and my pups. After the rush of the holidays I taught an accelerated evening course on top of my full time job (which means I worked 8-4, then 4:30-8 for 9 days straight), while dealing with the flu, so most of early January was a blur. Once that cleared up I got back in to a regular day-time work schedule, but I’m also teaching two online classes. Life is busy, but the classes translate into vacations (yeah yeah yeah, and savings too- but mostly vacations!). My husband and I have a few days booked in New Orleans for a family wedding, I have a trip to Vegas planned with some of my girl friends, and tonight I’m planning a summer London/Paris trip with my husband and another group of friends. We’re in a fun season of life where we both have good full time jobs, and minimal expenses, and no children. So I’m squirreling away some money (new septic tank, addition to the house, retirement) but also giving myself the freedom to just have fun and explore and adventure. It’s exciting and freeing, and I look forward to it all.

Also, and I know we’re all tired of being on either side of it, this election has got me so deep in to reading articles and looking at historical patterns and asking questions that it’s sucking up a lot of time I would otherwise spend thinking about house projects and goals. I’m reading articles on NPR’s website constantly, and “unfollowing” Facebook people/pages so I’m not barraged with things that infuriate/frustrate me, and talking to like minded peers about how to appropriately “fight back” in an educated and organized manner. Feminism has a bad rep, and maybe I can help with that? In a tiny tiny way?  I think it’s safe to say that as a 31 year old female, in New England, with a career in education… I am not a fan of our new president. But I’m also not super good at being involved in things. Instead, I’ve identified charities that may need help throughout the next few years and we’ll make one donation a month, and I’ve educated myself so I can have fact-based discussions instead of pointless banter, and I’m tiptoeing in to attending some marches. I desperately wanted to go to the women’s march but we had a family obligation and I couldn’t, so I live streamed what I could of it and it looks like there’s an interesting next step planned for April.

ANYWAY- If you’ve made it this far in my ramblings thank you… I don’t know what’s in store for this little section of the internet but I expect some radio silence and maybe a change in direction.

Top Ten Gifts for the HOME

A few days ago I shared my top 10 stocking stuffers and today I’m hopping back in with my top 10 gifts for the home.

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Please note some links are affiliate, which means I get a small commission if you make a purchase but the cost of your item does not change. Thanks for supporting Sandpaper and Glue!

  1.  Himalayan Salt Lamp: I have one of these in my office and really need another one for my bedroom. The glow is so calming, plus it cleans up allergens and does all sorts of other amazing things. Buy one for someone on your list, and send me one too please.
  2. Christmas Plant/Bouquet: This is ideal for friends/relatives that you may not see over the holiday. I was gifted this rosemary plant by the company and I’m going to try my darnedest to keep it up and running until spring so I can plant it outside. The gift that keeps on giving!
  3. Cast Iron Pizza Pan: We bought this over the summer and use it about once a week. It cooks up the absolute best crust you’ve ever had.
  4. Nate Berkus anything: Berkus all the things! You can’t go wrong with anything from his line at Target. Throw pillow, ceramic dish or bowl, offices supplies- just buy it all.
  5. Butter Bell: We’ve been using this very butter bell for a few years now and I love it. It looks nice on the counter and keeps butter spreadable all year long.
  6. Wall Hanging: Secret Harry Potter reference? Yes please. I love that this keeps it nerdy, but not super overt.
  7. Table Top Terrarium: If you have friends with cats, who desperately wish they could have houseplants, get them this. I have several (cats and terrariums…). 
  8. Watercolor Print: I have personally taken a water coloring class with this lovely lady and let me tell you, she is the real deal. Check out her shop- there’s holiday art but also great nursery prints and florals.
  9. Rubbermaid Tupperware Set: Ok so maybe this isn’t the most glamorous gift in the world, but it’s a good practical one. In a fit of rage I threw out all my mismatched butter containers and bought this set and then I never looked back. 
  10. Literary Throw Pillow: The colors! The artistry! There’s a good bunch of books to sort through, be sure to browse around the shop!

So there you go- one list of stocking stuffers and one list of home stuff, personally recommended (and for most things, tried and tested) by me. Any other lists you’d like to see on here? What’s your go to home gift?

10 Amazing Stocking Stuffers (for Him & Her)

I wasn’t initially going to post gift guides this year but I’ve just found so much good stuff lately that I have to share, and there’s still plenty of time left to have all this ship. I’ve got stocking stuffers today, and then a “for the home” guide post coming in a day or so.

Since I don’t presume to guess what’s for “him” versus what’s for “her,” this stocking stuffer list is all chunked together. How’s THAT for smashing up gender norms! 😉

Without further ado, here’s my top 10 stocking stuffer ideas for 2016:

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Please note some links are affiliate, which means I get a small commission if you make a purchase but the cost of your item does not change. Thanks for supporting Sandpaper and Glue!

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  1. Diane’s bobby pins : I know this seems like a simple one, but seriously- where do all the bobby pins go? This is an easy, appreciated gift.
  2. Literally anything from Mortal Threads: I stumbled across this site on Instagram and have already bought 3 t-shirts, but I want everything. For the geeky/horror nerd in your life, this site is excellent. They have home decor, clothes, accessories, and more.
  3.  Open It: I got this for my husband a few years ago, but it was secretly for me too. Keep it in your kitchen and use it every day, it’s fantastic.
  4. Personalized Return Address Stamp: Always a go to for newlyweds and new homeowners! I wish I had bought mine before I wrote out 900 Christmas cards…
  5. Makeup Brush Set: My husband bought me this very set a few months ago and I love it. I’m not super in to make up, but this is easy to travel with and not overwhelming.
  6. Ootie Bow Ties: Ootie sent me a free bowtie for my husband and it is such good quality. 10/10 highly recommend. (why yes, that IS a BB-8 bowtie in the picture. and it’s adorable.)
  7. Self Marking Tape Measure: Isn’t this the coolest? It’s on my list this year.
  8. Left Center Right (dice game): This is a great game for kids to teach direction. However, it’s an even greater game for adults if you swap out the discs for $1 bills or scratch tickets. Keep it classy with a little kitchen table gambling, my friends.
  9. E.L.F. cosmetics: I’ve been using e.l.f. products for years and years. They make great brushes, but lately I’ve been using the highlighter stick, bubble mask, primers (I’ve three!), and lip exfoliator. I’ve yet to be disappointed, and the cost is so good.
  10. Cocktail Grow Kit: Well this just seems like a blast! I love me a good themed garden.

 

What else are you stuffing stockings with this year? Any hot new items I need to know about? Tell me everything.

DIY Rolling Crate

Each year the college where I work has a winter fest where offices make a themed baskets  and/or wreaths and then they all get raffled off. It’s one of my favorite days here (second only to the chocolate sampler party on Valentine’s Day.. mmm….). I love love love seeing the themes people come up with for baskets and even cheesier than that I love when we all line up with our tickets excited to see who wins. I don’t even care if I win, it’s just a day where everyone is happy and chatting and it’s so nice.

Last year my office decided to buy a bunch of kids costumes (discounted right after Halloween) and I built a DIY rolling wardrobe to act as our basket. This year where decided on a “Local Christmas” theme and got all sorts of locally made/sourced items, and I decided to build a rolling crate for our basket.

I sort of winged it for this one, I had an image in my head but I didn’t write down any plans or measurements. What I ended up with was:

  • 24in x 24 in sheet of plywood (maybe 1 inch thick? it’s sturdy enough to hold some weight without needed extra bracing)
  • 3 sides made of mitered 1×6 boards with an extra detail of 1×2 strapping on the bottom of each
  • cut and mitered stacked 1×2’s to mark the front

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After cutting everything down I gave each piece a light sanding, wiped them down with a damp rag, then stained them with Jacobean by Minwax (the same shade  as my open shelves). Let it all soak in and dry overnight.

I attached the strapping detail to the sides with Gorilla glue, I also used Gorilla glue to adhere the stacked 1×2’s to each other. Clamp all the glued things and let that dry overnight as well.

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My pocket kreg jig broke so I cheated a bit and each of the sides are screwed to the plywood board, but not to each other. I’m obsessed with Spax brand screws– use them. love them. buy them in bulk. Also, always pre-drill your holes so the wood doesn’t split. I used an impact driver to pre-drill and a regular power drill to screw each piece together… which is lovely, because then you don’t have to switch bits back and forth a million times.

I had 4 wheels in my stash that we didn’t end up using on a piece of furniture when we moved, so I screwed those right in to the bottom. Then I staged it around my house to take pictures for the blog and began wishing I could just keep it for myself….

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I think I may need to build 500 more. It can be a shoe bin if you throw a mat at the bottom, a bet bed if you put a big pillow in it, a plant stand (just seal it up with some poly!)….

Here it is all put together at work:

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This can be as fancy or as simple as you make it out to be- I mitered the back corners for a sleeker joint, and angled the front pieces to add some interest, but you can make all straight blunt cuts if you want to keep it basic. You could also just use 1×6 pieces for all 4 sides inside of changing it up on the front. The sky’s the limit, baby!

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Industrial Open Shelving

Open shelving is nothing revolutionary in the blog world, it’s popped up all over the place for a little over a year now- and for my 1920s cape home it fits in perfectly.

Our dining room focal wall was missing a little pizzaz, so I put up four shelves to help fill in the space a bit and I’m super in love with how it turned out.

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This could be a really inexpensive update to a home (standard brackets, 1×6 or 1×8 stained board) but I wanted a very specific look so all in all this cost me just over $100 (for 8 brackets, 2 2×6 boards, and stain). Installation was still very, very simple though.

First, I used a laser level and painters tape to mark out the shelves- and I stared at that painter’s tape for about a week to make sure it was exactly how I wanted it. I also got a little lucky because my amazing geometric mirror (from a Habitat for Humanity restore) really marked out my lines for me: the mirror is divided into quads, and each quad has a marked middle as well. My shelves line up with the middle of the quads. Boom!

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Each shelf is 28inches long, so I bought 2 10-foot 2×6’s and cut them down (with some scrap wood to spare). It was important to me that the shelves be hefty looking, but not stick out super far from the wall. I sanded each board down to slightly round all the edges, then gave them each a hefty coat of Minwax Jacobean stain. YOU GUYS. This is my new all-the-time-stain stain. It’s so rich and lovely looking without overpowering the grain of the wood. As my dear friend Emily Henderson* would say it is very, very good. (*She has no idea who I am.)

Keeping the brackets spaced out 1 inch in from the end of each board meant I didn’t have any studs to work with, so I used some very heavy duty anchors- I think each one can hold something like 75 pounds and none of these shelves is more than 15-20lbs total (brackets included). I bought these brackets from Etsy, and HIGHLY recommend the seller- quick to respond to questions and really nice quality work.

The shelves are mainly for beauty purposes, not practical use, so I understand I’m going to be dusting a lot and I fully accept that responsibility. I already have a colorful rug in the space so I wanted to keep the styling mostly clear glass and natural elements.

I bought 5 mini ferns from Amazon, and 4inch pots from Michaels, then everything else I gathered from around the house.

Wait- do you not decorate your home using a real coyote skull and brass knuckles? Weird….

The frames and champagne flutes were from our wedding, the line of glasses belonged to my great aunt, then the rest is just odds and ends.

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If you love the look, I’d love for you to pin it!

Feel free to comment with any questions 🙂

Dining & Kitchen areas

The dining room in our house is easily the most “me” spot I’ve ever designed, which is strange since the adjacent kitchen is so extremely opposite of my style. They’re open to each other, and to the living room, and our master suite is right off them to round out the first floor. I, surprisingly, have loved having our bedroom right off the kitchen. Our laundry closet is in there, as well as a full bath, and for a two person household it is perfect.

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I just got this zinc trestle dining table from Overstock and it is perfection- it’s 135 pounds and seats 6 (you could squeeze in 8) and just fills the space perfectly. It could dress up to be fancy and banquet-y, or it can dress down to be really industrial and cool (literally, the top is cool to the touch). Also, apparently zinc is a live metal so if it gets scratches or light stains it’ll just heal itself up over time. Fascinating!

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The Eiffel shell chairs are from our last house, and the two end swivel chairs are from my Nana’s house (purchased late 60s/early 70s). Originally I was thinking I wanted to recover the swivel chairs in a deep navy tweed, but the yellow has really grown on me. What do you think?

The rug is from The Novogratz and I’m obsessed with it, and I’m hoping I’ll find a good black Friday online sale for an 8×10 sisal to layer under it. Originally there was a boob light over the table so I swapped it out for this hanging lantern style one and the brushed brass is so lovely. You guys- it’s super easy to swap out a light. Do it. Also, the Edison bulb casts a nice yellow glow that I really like in a kitchen/dining spot (but wouldn’t like in say, a living room or bedroom where you may want a clear white light to read).

The mirror is from the Habitat Restore, it was in my last house as well, and I’m so glad I found a spot for it here. It’s one of my favorite pieces. I’m thinking of adding 2 floating wood shelves to either side of it but can’t decide if that would feel too crowded. I need opinions on this too!

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The swing shelf is from my previous house as well, and it’s the perfect thing to keep my plants safely away from our cats. The painting was done by my Nana and I love that it brings a bit of fall in to the house all year round. Originally the frame was plain wood but I wanted to tie in the molding and doors a bit better so I painted it white.

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As for the kitchen- yes, yes, I know. It’s beautiful. Granite counters and french country cream cabinets and everything is brand new and fresh…

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However, it couldn’t be farther from my taste and I dream of the day I can reface the cabinets with white uppers, navy lowers, and swap in a marble-esque quartz or soapstone counter.

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I replaced the pendant light in here too, to match the dining one. It’s really the only spot in the kitchen that is available to customize so I just had to.

So that’s where we’re at in this spot– about 80% done, just need to bargain hunt for a larger rug to layer and  decide on floating shelves and chair fabric.

Also, don’t be fooled by the skulls and mummy planter… my house is not currently decorated for Halloween. 😉 I dig a little macabre in my design.